Joplin, MO

The historical Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri has community help in taking care of the grounds

CJ Coombs
Peace Church Cemetery.Photo by David M. Habben added to Find a Grave on July 31, 2021.

The second oldest cemetery in Jasper County, Missouri

The Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri dates back to 1841, so you know it carries a lot of history. Some say it's not only some property with history but also might be haunted. It's easy to speculate, however, that an old cemetery must have paranormal activity. What's definitely clear about this cemetery is that it's rich in history and because it's a cemetery, be respectful when walking on the grounds.

The killer, Billy Cook, is buried here in an unmarked grave. Cook, a native of Joplin, had murdered six people in different states in 1950. He was executed in 1952 in the gas chamber in California and buried outside the grounds of the Peace Church Cemetery. Some say his presence lingers in the cemetery although that could also be a legend. There's a blog online describing Cook and his crimes.

As many as 2,000 southwest Missouri pioneers and family members are buried at Peace Church Cemetery, including veterans from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, both World Wars, the Korean War and the Battle of Carthage. (Source.)

Peace Church Cemetery is designated as one of the oldest cemeteries in Jasper County. The church associated with the cemetery was a Baptist church known as Peace Church. Those affiliated with this church organized the cemetery in around 1855. The church doesn't exist anymore. The cemetery was not maintained for a very long time and was overtaken by weeds.

The large cemetery is maintained by volunteers and it takes a lot of work to keep it under control so markers remain visible. There was no cost associated with being buried in this cemetery which helps explain unnamed and unmarked graves. Many Missouri pioneers and family members were buried there.

In 2015, the Peace Church Cemetery Association which was organized in 1956 was reenacted in the effort to revitalize the cemetery.

Honoring a Civil War veteran

In October 2020, Charles Vinson who served with the 33rd Indiana Infantry during the Civil War was honored by both The American Legion and Peace Church Cemetery volunteers. When Vinson died in 1901, his resting place didn't have a government marker.

To reach the cemetery go north on Schifferdecker Avenue in Joplin past the chat piles and to where the road comes to a 'T' and go left on Peace Church Ave for about a mile to the cemetery on the east side of the road. (Source.)

According to the below video taken in 2021, it appears there are sections in the cemetery that have been adopted by people to help care for the grounds. It also appears at the time this video was taken, the area was in pretty fair condition.

For more information regarding this historical cemetery, click here to view the cemetery's Facebook page.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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